Occupation series 2: Sign Language Interpreters

Posted on August 15th, 2014 by Shari´ Parks

Occupation series part 2 focuses on discomfort of Sign Language Interpreters. Unbeknownst to many Sign Language Interpreters use their entire body to convey a message; however the area that gets alot of use are the phalanges, more commonly known as the fingers. Like every occupation the repetitive movement of the fingers, wrist, forearms, and shoulder girdle may cause injury.

One main injury that can sideline a sign language interpreters career is carpal tunnel syndrome, cts. Although muscles aren’t directly involved in carpal tunnel syndrome, cts is a compression of the nerves in the wrist, it still warrants a focus because there are many preventative tactics to incorporate into a work day.A few things to keep in mind when interpreting is to:

* Warm up with light stretches before starting an assignment
* Maintain good posture while interpreting
* Take frequent breaks, if possible
* Have someone else evaluate your signing, looking for wrist pronation, arm too high, position of hands when fingerspelling, etc.

Below is a stretch for cts prevention: Prayer Stretch

* Start with your palms together in front of your chest just below your chin.
* Slowly lower your hands toward your waistline, keeping your hands close to your stomach and your palms together, until you feel a mild to moderate stretch under your forearms.
* Hold for at least 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat 2 to 4 times.

This is me when I did interpreting at Gallaudet University.

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